Archives

Recipe repost: Mom’s Tuna Casserole

Reposted from http://eatineatout.ca/easyrecipe-print/2905-0/ .

Moms-Tuna-Casserole_2Serves: Serves 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 ¾ cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1 284 mL can condensed cream soup – mushroom, chicken, celery, broccoli
  • 1 170 g can flaked light tuna
  • ½ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese, divided
  • ¼ tsp EACH salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, just to al dente.
  3. In a bowl mix cooked pasta, soup, tuna, milk, onion, ½ cup cheese and spices. Pour mixture into a greased 1.5 qt. casserole dish and sprinkle remaining ½ cup cheese on top.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbling.
OPTIONAL: add up to 1 cup blanched broccoli or baby spinach
Advertisements

Recipe: Beinarian Slatkos with Kara, Kelan, or Nanla Filling

Created for The Great Succession Crisis and appearing in the 2nd Edition  (recipe was deleted for the Third Edition; both editions are available in paperback), slatkos are a fusion of breakfast pastry with Italian cannolis and filled with approximations of Beinarian kara, kelan, or nanli fruits.

slatkos

Beinarian Slatkos with Kara, Kelan, or Nanla Filling

Created by Laurel A. Rockefeller; Kristeen Shuga and Alayna Hoglund of “What’s the Occasion” bakery.

 

Beinarian slatkos are buttery baked pastry filled with fruit fillings popular across Beinan at formal events and sometimes for breakfast.  Slatkos made be filled with any number of fruits and/or nuts from across the planet.  While kara, kelan, nanla, and other Beinarian trees cannot grow here, their flavors can be closely replicated as demonstrated in this easy recipe.  It works best when stainless steel cannoli forms are put in the middle while baking; without the forms, each slatko bakes completely flat, greatly reducing the amount of filling and requiring the scooping out of some of the bread in the middle.

 

Pastry Puff Shells

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup cold butter, divided

¼ cup ice water

1 ½ teaspoons water

2 tablespoons beaten egg

 

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in ¼ cup butter until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12 inch x 6 inch rectangle.

 

  1. Cut remaining butter into thin slices. Starting at a short side of dough, arrange half of the thin butter slices over two-thirds of rectangle to within ½ inch of edges. Fold unbuttered third of dough over middle third. Fold remaining third over the middle, forming a 6 inch x 4 inch rectangle. Roll dough into a 12 inch x 6 inch rectangle.

 

  1. Repeat steps of butter layering and dough folding until all the butter is incorporated into the dough, ending with a 6 inch x 4 inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 15 minutes. Roll dough into a 12 inch x 6 inch rectangle once more. Fold in half lengthwise and then width-wise. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour.

 

  1. In a small bowl, combine egg and water. Roll dough into a 12 inch square; cut into four squares. Brush with half of the egg mixture. Place squares onto cookie sheet and grab the two opposite corners and connect them over a stainless steel cannoli form.

 

  1. Bake at 450° for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool until warm but not burning hot. Gently slide cannoli form out.  Cool completely.  Fill as directed below.

Substitution: baked shell dough may be substituted with crescent roll or turnover dough located in your local grocery store. Of the “crescent” dough options available in the supermarket, we prefer the new Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet which is uncut crescent bread dough. To use pre-purchased dough, simply unroll, separate (or cut to size if using the dough sheet), bring the corners together over each cannoli form, seal, bake, and fill.  For the flakiest shells, use turnover dough or Grands biscuit dough rolled/pressed out to size.

 

Fillings:

1 ½ cups berries or chopped fruit

¼ cup sugar (if the fruit is tart or slightly unripe)

3 tablespoons cornstarch diluted in enough COLD water to dissolve it.

 

  1. Puree with blender or mash thoroughly to a smooth to slightly lumpy consistency. Push through a sieve if you want to remove the seeds. Put puree in a pot on medium heat on the stovetop; add sugar and starch liquid; stir constantly. Bring to a boil until well thickened. Cool completely. This will become very thick and tastes very fresh.

 

  1. Once cooled, place some filling into either pastry bag or a sandwich bag. Cut hole into bag and squeeze slightly into pastry to pipe in the filling. Alternatively, a small spoon can be used to carefully fill each slatko shell. It is easier if you fill half on one side and half on the other as well.

 

Beinarian fillings:

 

Kara fruit filling

¾ cup blackberries (approximately 1 6 oz. container)

¾ cup blueberries (just under ½ of a standard pint container)

 

Kelan fruit filling

¾ cup blackberries (approximately 1 6 oz. container)

¾ cup lingonberries (approximately ¼ to ⅓ pound)

 

Nanla fruit filling

1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into small but not fine chunks

¾ cup kiwi fruit (about 1 to 2 fruit, depending on size), peeled and chopped

 

Nanla fruit filling should be coarser than most slatko fillings; do not puree completely smooth.

 

Toppings:

 

After baking and filling, the tubes may be doused with powdered sugar, sprinkles, iced at the ends, or just left plain.

Repost: Beer and Cheese Pasta Sauce

When I was studying at the University of Nebraska there was one IT restaurant in town that was so popular you usually had to wait a very long time to get in.  It was called Spaghetti Works and it seriously had the best pasta and best pasta sauces I’ve ever tasted in my life — and an all you can eat salad bar with most meals that made sure you were getting a very healthy lunch or dinner.

In recent years Spaghetti Works fell out of favour in Lincoln (though on my last and final visit to Nebraska the one in the Old Market of Omaha was still going strong) and the Lincoln location closed.  But its “beer and cheese” pasta sauce is/was still to die for.

I am so happy then to find a recipe for it and am sharing it now with you. Bon Appetit!

beer-cheese-sauce

Spaghetti Works Beer Cheese Pasta Sauce

8 oz. jar Cheez Whiz (I know- Cheez Whiz… but it worked well)
8 oz. Whole Milk (now’s not the time to be thinking low fat or skim)
8 oz. flat beer (I used a decent pale ale but you probably don’t want anything too hoppy or too strongly flavored also it was not flat but that only contributed a little bit of extra foaming which subsided)
8 oz. Beef Broth
5 Tbs flour
5 Tbs butter
Optional-Real bacon bits or crisp crumbled bacon

Heat Cheez Whiz, milk, beer, & beef broth to 140 degs. stirring constantly.
Melt butter in sauce pan & add flour, stir until blended, cook 2 minutes but do not brown.
Stir the roux into the the cheese mixture and heat to 160 degs. stirring constantly.
Remove from heat & add bacon bits if desired.
Serve over spaghetti or favorite pasta.

Repost: Czech Kolaches Recipe

kolaches dorothy kusakI grew up with Czech Kolaches.  Very popular across the midwest United States they are probably the best reason to travel to Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and other midwestern states.

Of course I haven’t been able to find them anywhere else.  So I was thrilled to find this recipe on facebook courtesy Dorothy Husak.

Czech Kolaches.
Recipe makes 56
Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup butter, cut up
3/4 cup shortening, cut up
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast envelopes
Desired filling (see below)
Powdered Sugar Icing (see below)

Directions

In a large saucepan, heat and stir milk, butter, shortening, sugar and salt just until warm (120 degreesF to 130 degrees F) and butter and shortening almost melt. Set aside and cool for 5 minutes. Stir in eggs.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of the flour and the yeast. Add milk mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds or until combined. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Gradually add remaining flour, switching to a wooden spoon if necessary to stir in last amount of flour. (Dough will be very soft.) Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
Shape chilled dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover; let rise in a warm place 30 minutes. Use your thumb or the back of a round measuring teaspoon to make a deep indentation in center of a few balls at a time. Spoon about 1 teaspoon filling into each indentation. Repeat with remaining balls and filling.
Bake one or two pans of kolaches at a time at 325 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottoms. Immediately remove to racks; cool slightly. If you like, drizzle with icing before serving.

 

Poppy Seed Filling: In a coffee grinder or small food processor blend 3/4 cup (4 ounces) poppy seeds until fine. Set aside. In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon honey and a dash of salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, lightly beat 2 egg yolks. Gradually stir about half of the warm milk mixture into beaten yolks. Return the yolk mixture to milk mixture in saucepan and stir to combine. Cook and stir over medium heat just until mixture thickens and coats a spoon. Remove from heat. Stir in poppy seeds and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest. Transfer to a bowl and chill, covered, for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Raspberry Filling: In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups frozen raspberries, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and chill, covered, for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Apricot Filling: In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups chopped dried apricots and 1 1/2 cups apricot nectar. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Cool slightly. Place in a blender and blend until smooth. (Mixture should be thicker than applesauce.) Transfer to a bowl and chill, covered, for several hours or up to 2 days. Makes 1 1/2 cup.
Powdered Sugar Icing: In a small bowl, combine 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches drizzling consistency. Makes 2/3 cup.
storage

Store unglazed kolaches in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

UK Holiday: UK rules for personal foodstuffs less strict than USA rules

The count down is on for my flight and the excitement is building.  I am making my food shopping list, checking it twice, and going to find out who is naughty and nice! (Couldn’t help the pun).

jerky

You can’t bring the beef jerky into the UK nor bring UK origin beef jerky into the USA. The trail mix is fine going into the UK, but must be declared at customs returning to the USA.

Time to really look at government websites and see what is and is not allowed.  Fortunately my post from yesterday seems to be spot-on with regards to what you can bring into the United Kingdom from outside of Europe.  As specified on gov.uk, the main restrictions relate to meat and dairy.  If you go through the page, HM government is very detailed and very explicit on the matter — which is good because no one wants problems at customs.  You can consume meat and dairy to your heart’s content on your flight from USA to UK — at long as you throw away the leftovers before you land.

The USA is apparently much more strict about food coming home from another country.  Looking at the US Customs and Border Protection site and their FAQ for travelers you cannot bring ANY fresh food of any type into the United States.  Anything you do bring with you (aka you didn’t throw away before you disembark from your plane into the USA) must be declared OR YOU FACE a $10,000 FINE.

$10,000 for not saying “I have some crackers in my bag.”

apricots

These apricots are allowed into the UK without any issues. But if I don’t eat them while on holiday and try to bring them back into the USA, I must declare them at customs — or face a $10,000 fine!

Absolutely NO fresh food is allowed into the USA at all.  According to the FAQ, most dried fruits and nuts ARE allowed — as long as you declare them.  Likewise, as long as you tell them, it’s not an issue if you save your pretzels from your flight to eat while you are waiting to change planes.

But it is a bit telling.  I really never expected the flight back to the USA to be more risky than the flight to the United Kingdom.

Well, maybe this is just the universe’s way of telling me something I already know about myself — and where I am happiest!

Purim Celebrations for Gentiles

Originally posted February 28th, 2012

 

Hamantaschen are delicious cookies traditionally eaten at Purim.

The Jewish Holiday of Purim is a festive, often raucous holiday filled with gaiety, great food, and parties. Yet for the gentile, this holiday is often a bit of a conundrum, even though many gentiles know the essential story behind Purim from the Biblical book of Esther.

Purim is a spring holiday, typically celebrated in March, celebrating Jewish survival in the face of genocide. The word Purim means “lots” and is a reference to the lots drawn by Persian courtier Haman to decide the date of Jewish annihilation. The story itself is told in full in the Biblical book of Esther, the name of a very brave Jewish young woman who, according to the story, was chosen as the new queen of King Ahasuerus (assumed to be Xerxes I of Persia) after his previous queen refused to come to a banquet thrown by Xerxes for several nobles. Queen Vashti’s refusal was probably understandable; the summons came while Xerxes was drunk. Regardless the historical details, if any, Esther’s ascent puts her in a rare position, able to influence the king in a time of crisis. After Haman tricks Xerxes into genocidal slaughter of all the Jews in his realm, Esther skillfully uses Xerxes interest in her to amend the new law-allowing Jews to defend themselves. It is her courage and intelligence (and the ultimate victory by the Jews made in self defense) that is celebrated at Purim-one woman who stopped genocide.

Orthodox Jews celebrate Purim with readings of the entire book of Esther in temple. During the readings, it is customary to shout or make noise whenever the name of Haman is read. Children dress up in costumes (making some describe it as a sort of Jewish Halloween). Adults drink-the much debated standard is “until they can no longer distinguish between ‘cursed is Haman’ and ‘blessed is Mordecai,'” (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Purim/At_Home/Meal/Drinking_on_Purim.shtml).

These are the parts of Purim that are more or less the real domain of Judaism. Yet it is the other half of Purim that I believe gentiles can robustly embrace and which I keep every spring as a gentile:

  • Charitable giving: giving to those who have less than you do. This part of Purim reminds us that no matter how hard life is or how much we may lack, there is ALWAYS someone who has even greater life challenges-economically and otherwise. Purim reminds us to “count our blessings.”
  • Giving food gifts: certain Jewish foods like hamentaschen cookies are traditional, but any food gift will work. This is related in part with charitable giving; there is always someone we know struggling to have enough to eat.
  • Feasting/enjoying a special Purim meal: this is a merry holiday–of course we celebrate with food.

Purim is more than simply a celebration honoring the courage of a Jewish heroine. The holiday has evolved into a time for charity, food, and humble thankfulness for the blessings each of us receive and too often take for granted. No matter your religious or cultural heritage, each of us can celebrate this very Jewish holiday and its spirit of helping others.

For more about Purim, please see http://www.meirpanim.org/page_e.php?name=Purim andhttp://purim.123holiday.net/purim_customes.html and http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Purim/At_Home/Foods.shtml.

 

 

A nice recipe for hamantaschen is at http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/1366/jewish/Traditional-Hamantashen.htm

Olive Garden’s Principato Wines Among the Best of the House Wines

May 11th, 2012

 

The Olive Garden is one of the best known chain restaurants for Italian food. Certainly the television advertisements make the food look spectacular. Indeed, I have always found the food at Olive Garden quite good.

One of the best items on the Olive Garden menu is not a food item at all-but their house wines, Principato. Offered as bianco (white), rosato (blush), and rosso (red), Principato wines are perhaps the best reason to dine at Olive Garden. Principato are offered at the reasonable prices of $5.75 for a 6 oz glass, $8.25 for a 9 oz quartino (served in a sake carafe), and $28.00 for an entire bottle .

By the ounce, a $28 bottle costs $1.10407 per ounce. By the 6 oz glass, you pay $0.958333 per ounce. But the best value is the quartino which costs just $0.91666 per ounce.

But saving money is not the best reason for you to order Principato when you dine at the Olive Garden. These are genuinely very high quality wines-which the servers allow you to sample before you commit to ordering. That service is above and beyond anything I have seen at any other restaurant. Principato wines are also milder than a lot of their counterparts, making them palatable to people who generally do not drink wine. The red lacks the overwhelming tannins I find with most cabernet sauvignon and merlot wines; it’s lighter and a little sweeter without going all the way to a semi-sweet. The white is also milder than your typical sauvignon blanc or chardonnay which I find can be a little overbearing at times, making the bianco very palatable. But it is the rosato, the blush that is the best of all of these. Light, fruity, and a little sweeter than your typical white wine, it is a wine for both those who are connoisseurs and those who typically do not like to drink wine. It is the perfect complement to pasta and seafood in particular, bringing out the delicate sauces and cheese better than any other wine I’ve consumed with either pasta or seafood.

Principato is not only a good value-it’s a truly great wine, worth dining at the Olive Garden for.